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RAF LAKENHEATH, England — A 48th Fighter Wing security forces airman has been relieved of his duties after being charged with the slaying of his dog.

The announcement by the wing that Senior Airman Dustin Yandell had his “right to bear firearms” removed came eight days after the 21-year-old was charged by an English animal welfare and law enforcement agency with slitting the Labrador’s throat and dumping its carcass in the trash.

Yandell faces one count of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal by improper killing. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals charged Yandell on June 29, following a three-month joint probe by the RSPCA and officials at this Suffolk-based fighter wing.

More than 100 years old, the RSPCA is one of the United Kingdom’s largest law enforcement agencies with nearly 1,000 agents working in England and Wales to prevent animal cruelty and to investigate crimes against animals.

“The 48th Fighter Wing takes all incidents of animal abuse very seriously,” said a 48th public affairs statement released Friday.

“We hold our people accountable and perform proactive internal programs to educate base members and prevent pet-related incidents. We are in full cooperation with the U.K. authorities on this investigation.”

The inquiry that led to the airman’s arrest began after a garbage man found the bloodied carcass while emptying the recycling bin in front of Yandell’s home in the nearby town of Newmarket.

The 48th Fighter Wing did not say if Yandell was performing his law enforcement duties at RAF Lakenheath during the investigation, nor did it disclose what Yandell is currently doing in place of policing.

Yandell is due to appear at Mildenhall Magistrates Court on Aug. 7 at 10 a.m. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of up to six months in jail and a 5,000-pound ($9,100) fine.


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